Having an unhealthy gut doesn’t always look like the obvious symptoms such as bloating, gas and problems with bowel movement. It can look like many different things for many different people.
Having a healthy functioning gut is crucial for so many reasons, including cell-signalling, mood and immunity, to name a few. As Hippocrates said, “all disease begins in the gut”, and for the most part, he was right. So, if you’re wondering if your gut might be under-functioning, here are 5 signs that it might need some extra care and attention:
Find yourself getting multiple colds a year that seem to hang around? We commonly think of the immune system, but often do not realise that most of our immune cells are actually made in the gut mucosa! Moreover, a healthy gut is needed for proper immune cell signalling. So, when our gut is compromised, we are more likely to be susceptible to viral infections, which may even linger around.
If the gut health is dysregulated and “leaky” (known as hyper-intestinal permeability) inflammation can occur as a result of the immune system responding to foreign particles in the bloodstream that shouldn’t be there. As a result of this, chronic inflammation can result in conditions that affect the skin such as psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis and acne.
When we think of fatigue, the first thing naturopaths often consider as a contributing factor is, you guessed it, gut health. This is because there are often underlying infections such as parasites, bacteria or even viruses. Another common link between fatigue issues and gut health is fungal and mould overgrowth.
If you’re an avid flosser and brush your teeth regularly, yet still struggle with halitosis (bad breath), this can actually be a big indicator the gut health isn’t in check. This is because there’re too many “bad” microbes producing odour. Robust gut health is pivotal for balancing the healthy ratio of bacteria that resides in the mouth.
If you find yourself having an insatiable hunger for sweet foods, it may be due to an overgrowth of certain bacteria in the gut. This is because bacteria can actually secrete special proteins that affect what we crave; and the more we eat sugar, the more that bacteria can thrive and produce. Talk about a vicious cycle!
To summarise, it’s not always obvious that our gut health might not be in optimal shape. So, if you find yourself relating to one or even more of these signs – it might be a good time to visit your naturopath for some functional testing and treatment.
By Fallon Cashell – A.R.T Practitioner